You always have to cut indie films a little slack. The films have little to no budget and they are usually a first time for the writer, director, and actors involved.
All She Can, screening as part of the Maya Indie Film Series, is definitely an indie project. The cuts are jarring, some of the acting is mediocre at best, and the story unfurls in a confusing fashion that leaves you wondering, What exactly is this girl's problem?
The girl in question is Luz, a Mexican-American high school student in a small town somewhere in Texas. She is involved in the school's powerlifting team, because she sees it as her only way out of the one horse town she grew up in.
The female powerlifters and their training and competitions make a very interesting story on their own. But that isn't what All She Can is really about. The problem is that due to various subplots and endless supporting characters, you never really find out what the real story is. It seems like director Amy Wendel had too much to say.
Luz lives with her mother, abuelita, pregnant sister, and brother-in-law. There are brief moments that touch on how hard it is to make ends meet, how much it sucks to not have health insurance, how some people are stuck in dead end jobs, and basically all the pitfalls that can befall a family in this day and age. But those stories are brought up then dropped absentmindedly with no further discussion and absolutely no resolution.
In the meantime, you also have the boyfriend, the random school drug searches, the brother in the Army, the Mexicans trying to sneak into the country and the authorities who hassle them, and so much else that you feel like you are watching several short films instead of one feature.
Corina Calderon, who plays Luz, does a pretty good job with the material she has available. Unfortunately, the character, like the film is an amalgamation of several different parts that don't come out to a coherent sum.
She is at the top of her class and a star athlete, yet she has severe anger management issues (to the point of burning down someone's barn), and we never once understand why.This isn't normal teenage angst - this is diagnosable quality anger.
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The film has a nice color and texture which unfortunately is lost on the viewer -- who is consequentially lost as well.
The film will be showing at AMC Sunset Place 24 (5701 Sunset Dr., South Miami) today through Thursday as part of the Maya Indie Film Series. Regular AMC ticket prices apply.